Eulogy for my Mother-in-law
I don't know why I feel compelled to post this, but I do....so I'm gonna. It's long, though, so feel free to read only as much as you like.
"I met my husband 18 years ago next month...October 21 if you’re really interested... most of you know the how and where of it, and for the rest of you, well, suffice it to say that wonderful people come into your life in the most unexpected places.
Don took me to meet his mother that year just after Christmas. I remember it well, because it was the day before my birthday and she had a birthday cake for me even though we'd never met. It was the kind of thing she did. It was the beginning of a love affair. Not just with Don but with Jeannie, too.
I’ve learned an awful lot about Jeannie over these 18 years. The most important thing about her being her capacity to love. When Jeannie loved you, she loved you good, bad, and ugly and I know she loved me through all three more than once.
Jeannie was a wonderful mother. She raised her family through times that some of us probably wouldn’t have survived. She took the challenges that life, and people, and her health, put on her, and through it all she raised three wonderful individuals, all of whom I am proud to love.
She was an amazing Nana, too. Our daughters thrived in her love and care. She did all the things that Nana’s should do: she fed them cookies before dinner and way too much candy. She took them to work to show them off to her co-workers. She taught toddler Jessica to shake her diapered behind to Billy Ray Cyrus and sing “Achy Breaky Heart,” and let Allison drag her through countless toy stores for “just one more” dragon. She was so proud of the smart, beautiful young women the girls have become. She adored her granddaughters and they adored her right back.
Jeannie came to live with us just before Allison was born. It was such a comfort to have her with me when Don was traveling so much. There are no better gifts to give a working mother of young children than to remove the worries of child care and housekeeping from her; and Jeannie did both for me. I remember when Allison took her first steps for us. Jeannie didn’t tell us for years that Allison had walked for her earlier in the day. She wanted us to have that moment. It was the kind of thing she did.
Jeannie loved working in the health care settings. She was liked and respected by administrators, staff, and loved by patients. She knew the nursing home patients by name, by personality, and most of them by family. She fretted about those who didn’t have visitors and mourned when those she had known passed away.
Jeannie made friends wherever she lived: Made them quickly and committed the same love and care to them as to those she had known for years. She was generous, thoughtful, and fun to be around. She would tell you exactly what she thought about whatever was up for discussion without any apology...and we loved her for that.
She loved a good steak, fresh fruit, popsicles, and cola. She loved country music, Elvis, and EVERYTHING that bloomed.
I've spent a lot of time thinking about memories to share about my mother-in-law. There are a million special moments tucked away inside my heart, but each one boils down to the same thing: Jeannie loved. She loved us. And we loved her. I loved her.
Now what gives me great comfort is this: there are three things that last: Faith, hope and love....and the greatest of these is love.